The latest proposal by Democratic lawmakers to aid ailing automakers includes $25 billion in emergency loans, but that practically amounts to spare change compared to the federal government's total tab for the continuing credit crisis, Forbes reports.
The magazine, citing the research firm CreditSights, said the federal liability so far is at $5 trillion — and it's still rising.
The total is the cumulative price tag of the various government bailouts, loans and assistance packages intended to shore up the financial industry and revive the flagging economy. It includes efforts spearheaded by Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. Chairman Sheila Bair.
The report lays most of the cost at the feet of the Federal Reserve for lending $1 trillion in short-term loans to primary lenders since March and issuing an additional $1.8 trillion in short-term loans since January through another initiative. Some of the money already has been paid back, Forbes reports.
The emerging crisis prompted the federal government this fall to secure bailout packages for several major financial companies — including Bear Stearns and AIG — to prevent them from failing.
Congress, meanwhile, approved a $700 billion bailout package aimed at providing relief to financial institutions, though Paulson said Wednesday that the administration had decided against using the money to purchase distressed mortgage assess from Wall Street firms. Instead, the government intends to provide money directly to struggling financial firms.